Housing careers championed through school partnership
Published by Kelly Elliott for Cestria Community Housing in Housing and also in Communities
Pictured back left is Louise Gulliver, Director of Information, Advice & Guidance at Park View School, with the Park View School students taking part in the Cestria project.
A group of County Durham teenagers are helping a local housing association connect with its younger tenants through an innovative new partnership.
Year 11 pupils from Park View School in Chester-le-Street are working with Cestria Community Housing as part of a six-month long scheme which will see the 15 and 16 year olds design a new information leaflet aimed at Cestria’s younger tenants.
The partnership is the first of its kind in the area and was organised through the Durham Education Business Partnership (EBP) - an organisation which brings local schools and business together to equip students with the skills needed for the world of work.
Through the project, which has been named ‘Building Brighter Futures’, Cestria works closely with the pupils to provide them with ongoing challenges which give them a greater insight into a career in the housing sector.
The aim is also to teach them practical skills such as creative thinking and working in a team which will prepare them for life outside the classroom and make them stand out at future job interviews.
Cestria’s Financial Inclusion Manager Suzanne Jobson has been involved in organising the project and said: “Cestria is eager to support our future tenants in gaining valuable skills and experiences to prepare them for the world of work and this project was a great opportunity to do just that.
“The students are giving up their own valuable time in one of their most critical school years, so we wanted to ensure that the challenges we set them were worthy of that time and would add value to our organisation as well as to their CVs.
“The leaflet the pupils are designing is aimed at our 16 to 25-year-old tenants so will allow them to draw on their existing knowledge and experiences as well as learn new skills and find out more about working in the housing sector.”
Louise Gulliver, Director of Information, Advice & Guidance at Park View School, said the programme was already benefiting those pupils taking part.
She said: “The Building Brighter Futures scheme is an excellent opportunity for our students to develop key employability skills, such as communication, teamwork and problem solving, which are essential in order to gain employment in the future and be effective and successful in a competitive work place”.
It is hoped that other businesses will now sign up with Durham EBP to help prepare other young people in the region for their futures.
Linda Fluke, Business & Learning Officer at Durham EBP, said: “Partnership working is key to this project. Linking local employers with students in schools helps them to understand and develop the attitudes and skills needed to be successful in their future careers. We really appreciate the support from Cestria Community Housing and all their staff.”
Once the various challenges have been completed by the pupils, a winner will be selected who will be guaranteed an interview for an apprenticeship position at Cestria.